Joel McIver — author of "My Bloody Roots: From Sepultura To Soulfly And Beyond", the autobiography of Max Cavalera (SOULFLY, CAVALERA CONSPIRACY, KILLER BE KILLED); "Justice For All: The Truth About Metallica"; and biographies on BLACK SABBATH, SLAYER, SLIPKNOT and QUEENS OF THE STONE AGE — was interviewed on the latest installment of the "Focus On Metal" podcast. You can now listen to the chat using the audio player below.
An excerpt from "My Bloody Roots: From Sepultura To Soulfly And Beyond" can be found at www.soulfly.com/autobiography. The excerpt comes from one of the book's early chapters and deals with incidents from Max's youth as a teenage headbanger in Belo Horizonte, Brazil. Part of the text appears below.
"I was having fun with drinking, I never saw it as a problem. Some of the most fun shit I ever did was while I was drunk. I had a drinking partner, this guy called Maurinho: he was my best friend. I'd heard people say that he could beat up 10 people and that he was a total fucking psycho. I was 16 when I met him, right at the beginning of the band.
"This guy loved everything about SEPULTURA and encouraged me all the time, saying 'You're gonna make it. I know you're gonna be a huge star one day, man. I fucking know it. Just keep doing what you're doing.' We used to go out and get fucked up all the time. We'd get into huge fights, too. He was a little guy, but he knew karate and tai kwon do and other martial arts, and he could fuck people up. He'd destroy huge guys: it was fun to be part of that.
"I was a good fighter too, when I got drunk: I was fucking nuts. There was one time when we were in a bar and this guy was fucking with me. He kept calling me 'poser' and getting on my nerves, saying, 'You're a poser, man… you're a fucking poser… your music is fake.' I'm like, 'Motherfucker, you'd better stop or you'll get what's coming to you.' But he kept fucking with me, and finally I said, 'OK, that shit ends now. Let's go out to the front of the club. We're gonna throw down, right now.' I started beating the crap out of him and I grabbed a rock that was on the ground and destroyed his head with it. It opened right up, with blood gushing everywhere. My shoes were totally covered in his blood when I got home. I remember looking at my shoes and thinking, 'Shit. How is that guy still alive?' But he asked for it. I was just minding my own business and having a good time with my friends. My friend Maurinho had seen it happen and he told me afterwards, 'You took care of that one.' He didn't even need to step in."
In a recent interview with Phoenix New Times, Max stated about his decision to write his memoir: "It felt like it was a good time. I'm reaching about 30 years of my career. 30 years of music. It's a story that I think is really cool. Coming from Brazil . . . and you know, achieving what you wanted, your dream.
"There is a lot really funny shit in it. Pissing off Lemmy [Kilmister of MOTÖRHEAD]. Throwing wine on Lemmy's head. Lemmy chewing Gloria's [Cavalera, Max's wife and manager] ass, saying he wants to kick my ass. Puking on Eddie Vedder [PEARL JAM] on a MINISTRY tour. Those are fucking amazing stories and you can't fabricate this shit. The time made it. So it was a long process.
"I worked with a guy, Joel McIver, who is an English writer. He wrote a Randy Rhoads book, a MOTÖRHEAD book, a DEEP PURPLE book, and a METALLICA unofficial biography, which they really loved. We did about 1,000 interviews trying to remember everything. It wasn't chronological. One day, we'd talk about my childhood or the split from SEPULTURA or the death of [Max Cavalera's stepson] Dana. That was a really hard time to talk to about. It tough to talk about that stuff. That was hard . . . Dark, really dark."
Asked if it was therapeutic for him to go through all of this, Max said: "We treated it more like conversation, like we're doing right now. It was more like us just having a talk.
"I wanted to be easy for people to read. I didn't want it to be complicated. I wanted it to be as easy as possible.
"The book starts in Brixton [London], which was the last show with SEPULTURA. Then we go back to my childhood in Brazil.
"I didn't know it was the final show at the time, but it was a really explosive way to begin. I thought it was a really cool to open it like that. It was his idea, instead of going chronologically. I was on top, conquering the world, and then right after that, getting kicked in the head and everything was gone. My band was gone, my brother was gone, Dana had just died.
"Dave Grohl did an awesome intro. He tells a story about how he bought a $50,000 speaker for his studio sound system, and he pops in [SEPULTURA album] 'Roots' and it blew up the whole fucking thing. [mimicking Grohl] ''Roots' blew up my whole system.' I love that story. If your album can blow up a $50,000 system, you're doing something right. Mike Patton [FAITH NO MORE, MR. BUNGLE, TOMAHAWK] says really cool shit about us in Brazil. He was hanging out with us in Brazil, going to voodoo places. I took him to voodoo rituals in Brazil. He was staying at Igor's house. It was really cool. Sharon Osbourne talks about the Dana thing [in the book]. We were playing Donington [Monsters Of Rock festival] with [Ozzy Osbourne] and they flew us home in their private jet when Dana died. It was a horrible thing. We were flying home because Gloria's son died, in Ozzy's plane. It was horrible. The whole time. It was so dark. I wanted to say something to Gloria and words couldn't even come out of my mouth. Sharon talks about feeling like we needed a friend at that time and she was able to help us. They didn't have to do anything. They were just playing a show with us, and yet they showed their true colors. Somebody else could have said, 'I'm sorry for your loss,' but they didn't do that. They put us on their plane, gave us money and gave Gloria a crucifix. It was amazing. Then when I got kicked out of SEPULTURA, it was around January, we were invited to their [Sharon and Ozzy Osbourne] house for a dinner because Ozzy wanted to encourage me to go on. That's how felt, like he should do something. I went to their house and sat down. Ozzy sat me down and said, 'Fuck them. Fuck those guys. You need to get up off your ass and do something.' It was awesome to hear that from him and I needed to hear that. He played me some BLACK SABBATH demos and it blew my mind. It was fucking awesome to hear that from him. I was tripping the whole time. I never even imagined I would do that. You know, like when I was a kid in Brazil, if you would have told me I would sit down with Ozzy, fucking BLACK SABBATH, I wouldn't have believed it."